The Margrave stalked the empty, sunlit corridor like a shadow. “The Royal Tecumseh Hotel. The very name says so much, doesn’t it? She wondered, perhaps idly, what that name told Lewy.”

Lewy, walking beside her, tapped his forehead in a mocking parody of Winnie-the-Pooh. “Think-think-think-think. Hmm. It’s a parody of a hotel, where nobody who can help it has stayed since the 50s. It’s a bar with a vestigial hotel attached for easier liquor license renewal.”

Smiling, the Margrave went on: “It is all of these things, she admitted, but it does go deeper than that.”

Reaching out, Lewy tore a long, thin strip of badly pasted 1970s wallpaper from the baseboard in a shower of dessicated glue. “I have trouble believing that there’s anything deeper in this wreck.”

“She saw where Lewy’s perspective came from,” the Margrave responded, “but she nevertheless cajoled him to look deeper. To look at the very name itself.”

“Royal. There hasn’t been a king that had anything to do with this place since 1783,” Lewy said. “I can’t believe anyone more royal than a Burger King ever spent a night here.”

“A name chosen for its connotations, its connection to golden external appearance with no thought given to those who suffer and toil. She agreed with Lewy, but pressed him to dig deeper.”

“Tecumseh,” Lewy said. “He tried to unite the Indian tribes together to resist the settlers, and he died for it. And as soon as they were done killing him, they started naming things after him.”

“She agreed. Tecumseh was never here, never traveled here, but his name has a pungent whiff of the exotic to townsfolk’s ears. He is a romantic hero, but only when he is dead and no longer a threat. Were he ever to return, he would be met with the same lack of mercy.”

The Margrave made another nod, another ghostly smile. “This is the essence of Higbee, Lewy. We see it everywhere. It puffs itself up even as it destroys others and itself.”

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